Lost the Battle?

Upon reading my recent musings on a woman’s body, a woman’s choice, a friend texted me the following:

“Unfortunately, we have lost this battle. I don’t believe that there is any ground to gather at this point. While I believe abortion is homicide, the battle I think we still have a chance on is paying for them with tax money.”

I texted back that I disagreed with his assessment, but first let me state, the post wasn’t about abortion per se, but rather the illogical argument made when advocates state it’s a woman’s body and thus her choice. If we take that argument to its logical conclusion then there are a good many “anti-choice” laws that should be repealed from drug laws to prostitution laws, because the “my body, my choice” argument applies as surely to those laws as it does to other behavior driven laws.

As a teacher, I have had the opportunity to get students critically thinking about their positions and to take their positions to their logical conclusions. At a minimum, to urge them to apply the same standard to all opinions of laws.

For example, during one class lecture on the steps of policy making, I used the secondary education system as an example. Many school districts across the nation have had to grapple with students who identify as transgender and what that means with regard to bathrooms and locker rooms. One young dual-enrolled (female) student commented that school districts should allow a boy who identifies or feels like a girl the use of the female bathroom for changing and toilet use. I asked if the girls who use the bathroom or locker room should be considered when making this decision, the student replied, “No.”

Her response was typical of many attitudes today. In essence, she stated that if the boy feels like a girl, the other girls should respect that and accept this boy’s feeling and not go against such a policy.

Moving on to the steps to policy making, I used the real example of my county’s school peanut allergy policy. As we went through the steps of how an idea becomes a policy and in turn becomes a regulation or law, I used the Superintendent’s decision to implement a “no-peanut” policy within all county schools. This policy included no eating in the classes, no vending machines outside the cafeteria, and the removal of all peanut related items in the vending machines, and letters and phone calls to parents that students should not bring to school any food made from peanuts, tree nuts or any non-nut food made in facilities that also make food using nuts or oils made from nuts.

This policy is the result of one high school student who has a nut allergy. Without dismissing the severity of nut allergies, I asked the students thoughts on this policy. The students, most dual-enrolled and thus quite familiar with the policy, had different views ranging from accepting to rejecting of the policy.

The same young female student who stated other female students should accept a male student into the female locker room or bathroom because he feels like a girl stated it was wrong to ban all nut related products from an entire student body for one student, and that it was wrong to require parents to determine if lunches they pack their students contain nut-related ingredients. Her position was that the whole should not have to be “punished” for the one.

I asked, “Could not the same standard be applied to the transgender student?”

A startled look came upon her face and then the light started to glow in her mind as she replied, “Good point.”

As is often the case, she had a standard for one thing, and a different standard for another, but the two were not so different in terms of policy making and when she discovered this reality, I could tell the thought process had begun.

There were many other conversations we participated in and with each subject, the questions I asked were designed to elicit critical thinking and to have the students take their position to its logical conclusion.

So back to the “My Body, My Choice” post. It was designed to elicit critical thinking in the minds of  whoever chooses to read the post.

 

 

 

 

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